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Before you search for the key to the garage, you should name your machine. Pejorative will not suffice. My large petrol driven mower is called Bessie, after a great-aunt with a similar temperament and cast of expression.
Approach the target. After a winter spent in the company of spiders, your equipment will be festooned with webs and dust. It may well be sulking. Pausing only to tear your trousers on miscellaneous metal bits stored for possible future use, drag the mower onto the lawn. Find the grass collection box, no matter how cunningly it is concealed. This step will repay time and temper spent, as raking up the clippings is a miserable pursuit. Failure to remove dead grass will achieve a lawn that appears to have undergone extensive surgery. If I cut the sward when it is wet, I end up looking like a short, fat green yeti. If you use an electric mower in damp conditions, you risk fubared fuses, defunct machinery and death, or worse. Always detach your machine from the power source or remove the spark plug before tickling its innards or you court a sudden deficiency in fingers, or whatever else you poke in there.

In my opinion, the lawn mower was invented by the Spanish Inquisition as a means of torturing the unholy. The name of Torquemada is no longer stamped thereon, as copyright has expired after so many centuries. If your mower is petrol driven, it will require the expensive ministrations of a man named Dave, in a back street shed full of arcane engineering and smelling of oil. If electric, mice will have chewed through the extension cable. Rectify all problems promptly, with a minimum of expenditure. Be quick about it, or your enthusiasm will diminish below critical levels.

Back to the turf. Despite Dave’s attention, your mower won’t start without prolonged sawing at the ignition pull cord. Go at this gently; remember this could be your first physical exercise since pulling crackers at Xmas. Most petrol mowers fail to start due to lack of appropriate fuel. Check what you need with care and go and get a can full. Don’t use the wrong petrol or get any dirt in the carburettor, or it’s back to Dave’s establishment of inordinate expense for you. Set the first cut high; no lawn looks appealing if it has the scabrous appearance of suffering from leprosy. Once started, mow all of the grass, avoiding flower beds, family pets and family. If your machine has a heavy roller, cut in diagonal stripes for class and to disguise the uneven shape of the territory. If you do a good enough job, your neighbours may even forgive you for that word you shouted, when your back gave out.

Double polyanthus and lawn

Trim the edges. Use a strimmer for a large plot, shears for a modest area, or kitchen scissors for a postage stamp. A mowing strip of brick edging will save on personal pain and time spent but is beyond the remit of this essay. Note to terminal cases, save scarification for later in the year, after the application of moss killer.

Stand back and admire the results; this step is important, no matter what the outcome of your endeavours. Your throat is raw from roaring that word every time a body part (elbow, shoulder, hamstring) twanged. Your jeans are ripped and knees are bruised, probably bleeding. Your fingers are blackened by proximity to awful electric energies or you stink of petrol. Still, the lawn looks lovely.